Rehearsals and Authenticity in Public Speaking (featuring J.K. Rowling at Harvard Commencement)

Isn’t it ironic that in order for you to look authentic when you speak in front of your audience, you have to rehearse your presentation? In order to appear true to your audience (and not the nervous wreck you are deep down especially if you are a first time public speaker), you have to keep practicing until every move you make up there on stage feels natural for you, whether it be walking a few steps forward, pointing your hand on the screen, doing your little mannerisms, etc. Indeed, it’s ironic, but it’s crucial.

Nick Morgan explains this in his blog post, Can you fake authenticity? Body language quick take #10. Being authentic is being genuine. This is displayed when the person speaking in front of us  is consistent in his/her message  accompanied by a confident and relaxed body language.

Having said this, and believeing this to be true, I do wonder how J.K. Rowling did it when she spoke at a Harvard Commencement in 2008.

I watched her video again and it amazes me how easily she entertained her audience, making them laugh and listen to her all throughout her 20 minutes up there in the podium. Of course it helps that SHE is the first ever billionaire author, but still, I am inclined to think that she did her fair share of rehearsing this speech of hers at home.

So, just keep rehearsing until you feel confident enough to speak in public. Having practiced your lines and your gestures is still better than to not have practiced at all.


The Importance of Having a Platform

In public speaking and presentations, basically, in selling yourself, your business, your ideas, it is important to create and maintain your platform. If you want to be a super expert like Vaynerchuk, I know it would be hard at first, but if you keep at it, the rewards will translate to profits and credibility. And it all starts with an idea…. a strong idea to be precise. These ideas will be your foundation, the very reason why people will want to hear you, talk about you, watch you.

In order to make sure that you get to have a strong idea for your platform, consider the following:

  1. Find your passion.
  2. Know your audience.
  3.  Decide on a content strategy.


Ideas become a kind of currency which will translate into value for your audience, which will later on translate to a profitable business for you.

To get great insights about building your platform, head over to: Part 1 of a Three-part Series: Got Platform?

Part 1 of a Three-part Series: Got Platform?

Results of the Survey on Bad PowerPoint Presentations

I told you before about a survey on bad PowerPoint presentations that Dave Paradi conducted. Well, the results are out! And like what Lisa Braithwaite said on her blog, “Things are generally the same as in the past: Audiences find speakers who read the slides to them to be the most annoying aspect of PowerPoint presentations.”

Here are the top five annoyances along with the percentage of respondents that selected them as one of their top three:

  • The speaker read the slides to us – 73.8%
  • Full sentences instead of bullet points – 51.6%
  • The text was so small I couldn’t read it – 48.1%
  • Slides hard to see because of color choice – 34.0%
  • Overly complex diagrams or charts – 26.0%

For more information, head to Dave Paradi’s blog post: Results of the 2011 Annoying PowerPoint survey


Steve Jobs – One of the Greatest Public Speakers I Know

I am at a deep loss for words when I found out that Steve Jobs died yesterday. Aside from his amazing work with Apple’s iPhone, iPad, iPod, iMac and iTunes iPod, Steve is one of the best public speakers I’ve witnessed in my lifetime. I remember the speech he delivered at Standford University during the university’s 114th Commencement on June 12, 2005. It’s engaging, direct to the point and inspires listeners to act. I’m sure the millions of others who watched the video recording of his speech will say the same thing. Here is the video:

To Steve Jobs, thank you for your great contribution to this world. You will truly be missed.